#summerhygge is so underrated. I think because of the emphasis when hygge first hit the Really Big Time on it being about candles and cosiness, we forgot that cosiness isn’t a seasonal activity, so when summer happened last year, people felt inclined to put their hyggely thoughts away.
I’m pleased that this year on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram hygge is still out there. We’re learning, as a nation, that we need to hold onto the feelings of hygge and to build out community. I don’t care how you voted in Brexit or the USA, or what your political opinions are, I think everybody benefits from finding safe spaces to put aside their differences and talk about what is, after all, the important stuff of life. Love, family, sunshine.
This is the first in a series looking at how to keep the spirit of hygge very much at the centre of your world when the sun shines and the heat is oppressive. That starts for me at around 18 degrees, so I have to find ways of making life fun despite, not because of, the heat.
Today, I’m looking at the simple things you can do to make your home a better place for summer hygge. They’re cheap, simple and effective. Oh,and they make people feel happier. That’s a big part of hygge for me, being happy.
- Change woollen throws for light cotton ones. Preferably in light colours like white, cream or blue. I don’t change all my cushion covers, but I do know people who do. They swap the red velvet of winter for a linen ticking stripe. I’ve never found linen ticking cheap enough to bother.
- Use soft floral essential oils around your house. Mix 10 drops each of lemon, lavender and mint with a glassful of cheap vodka and a glassful of cooled boiled water to make a room spray that invigorates people and discourages flies.
- Love candles but don’t want the heat? Decorate with white fairy lights. I have mine along the mantelpiece and around my shelves. When the evening gloaming draws in, but it’s not really dark enough for lamps or lights to go on, these just add a glow that lifts the room.
- Have a good supply of ice in. Use it to chill water in the fridge or, for real extravagance, make iced tea and serve with plenty of ice cubes.
- Freeze fruit juice or freshly blended summer fruits to make icepops and enjoy them in the heat of the day.
- Use curtains and blinds during the day to create a cool area in the house, especially if you don’t have or don’t want to run the air conditioning. Place flannels soaked in lemon water over fans to encourage cooler air and sweeter smelling air to waft around your house. Strange as it seems, keep windows in unused rooms facing the sun closed, and keep the internal doors closed until the sun has gone off them before opening up windows and doors and letting the air circulate. This won’t work if it’s your living room or bedroom, and in continuous use.
- Make the most of good seasonal produce by eating light. Fresh salads and sweet summer fruits make excellent meals with just a little protein added. Avoid oven cooking, and see if you can trick anyone into going outside to barbecue the meat.
- Keep entertainment gentle. Have a card evening, when you all play card games together, start a box set and limit yourself to one or two episodes a day during summer, or arrange to meet outside the home if you know somewhere cool. With children, balance time inside with time outside, perhaps by having a cool corner for them to crash in after playing outside. I used to love setting up a summer reading nook near the door, with a basket filled with books and a picnic rug to spread out inside or out.
- Invite friends over, and eat later when the evening has cooled a little. Keep food simple, and enjoy sparkling drinks. Aperol spritz is my current favourite.
- Summerify your bed as well. Either remove the duvet or quilt, or use a very light one. A cotton blanket over a sheet works just as well, and gives you the option of getting cooler or warmer as you need to.
- Place nightwear in the freezer for 30 minutes before sleep, so that you really can slip into something cool. Just don’t forget it, or your housemates will wonder what it is next time they go for some ice!
- Adjust your reading to the season. Collect some light, summer romances, or read travel stories. I love a good cookbook in the summer, especially one with stories and pictures to inspire me. Falling Cloudberries, with a selection of recipes from Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Finland, is like a world tour in a book. (Tessa Kiros writes it)
Enjoy the sun and the heat. If you live in the UK, any sign of summer should be grabbed eagerly and drained to the dregs like a drunkard lost on life. We never know when (or even if) there will be another summer….
Hygge and happiness go so well together. If you’d like to read about the small things that have helped me to be happier, my new book is available from Amazon. Happier is all about how to use the small details in life to make you happier. You can get it at Amazon. I also think the principles of enjoying life and making the most of small details is an important part of How to Hygge Your Summer , my second book which contains my advice on having a hyggely time at home and outside, and which is also available in ebook and paperback version. You can find details about all my books, and how to connect with me on social media on the Start Here page of my blog.